You're right Ron...
But jeez, they make it sound so easy in the patents!
Ok, full disclosure:
The etching procedure was, etching in 104°F water, changed about 3 times, then plunged into 90% IPA to dehydrate it, then 5% sodium sulfite (kinda old though...), cool water wash & rinse in distilled water.
Honestly, OTOMH I can't remember if I did a pre-soak before the hot water etch and I probably should've. Also I think my procedure next time should be a little different: 68° water pre-soak, 104° water etch, 68° water set, 5% sodium sulfite clear, 68° water wash for several minutes, distilled water rinse and finally dehydration in 90% IPA.
As for the transfer, I soaked the DT paper for 10 minutes or more in cool water (15°C roughly... and yes, I'm mixing my units...) and squeegeed flat on glass - no conditioner to speak of.
I guess I need to get my procedure down pat & work out all the mechanical/manipulatory faults so that we can really see what's going on.